One of the most hydrating veggies on the planet, cucumber is close to 90% water. Not only is it best eaten when raw but tastes delicious when wrapped in sandwiches, pickled, tossed in hearty salads, made into summer coolers or comforting soups. This piece aims to introduce to you some interesting ways to include cucumber in your everyday meals. Before we make way for our best cucumber recipes, here are some health benefits associated with the veggie.
Beauty benefits: Experts across the globe have vouched for the skin benefits of cucumber. Its cooling and hydrating properties helps in rejuvenating dull and dry skin and also adds a fresh sheen to your skin. A slice of cucumber when put on the eyes helps in treating dark circles and tired-looking puffy eyes. One can also include cucumber in multiple ways in various beauty packs and face masks.
Aids weight loss: Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston swear by the cucumber diet. With 95% water, they hydrate and cleanse your body. The Vitamin C content in cucumber actually helps in fat oxidation. They have very few calories and rank extremely low on fat content, cholesterol, sodium and carbs. They are full of fibre and can fill you up without adding a substantial amount of calories to your diet.
"Cucumber has a lot of fibres which leads to satiety. It can help in weight loss but when eaten alone it’s not enough to lose weight. You can have it in the form of salads, include it in continental dishes. You can even cook it in a form of a vegetable or make a juice or soup,” recommends Dr. Ritika Samaddar, Nutritionist at Max Healthcare Saket in New Delhi. We wouldn't suggest that your diet should include cucumbers day in and day out but they can play a great supporting role in getting rid of toxins and boosting digestion while you’re on a diet.
Dr. Anita Verma from Eva Physiotherapy and Wellness Clinic in Dwarka, New Delhi agrees, "Cucumber is rich in fibres and fluids which keeps your stomach full for longer. They should be added to our daily diet as they can help in decreasing the need for fatty foods by curbing your cravings. On thing that you should keep in mind is that when eaten before the meals it leads to satiety but if you take it after the meal it increases the appetite of a person. It enhances a person's BMR (basal metabolic rate - the rate at which the food dissolves)."
Cucumber comes packed with flavonoids, antioxidants, lignans and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to these, cucumber is also rich in essential nutrients like manganese, Vitamin A and K, beta-carotene, magnesium, and phytonutrients. All in all, adding cucumbers to your daily diet is only going to benefit your health in the longer run.
If you are not in the mood to try this veggie the conventional way, our exciting recipes will inspire you to make use of cucumber in a way you wouldn't have imagined before. But before you put on your aprons and take charge of the kitchen, here are a few quick tips on how to buy and store cucumbers.
- Go for the one that is bright/deep green in colour with firm body, smooth skin and round edges. - Cucumbers are extremely sensitive and turn bad when exposed to heat. Make sure you store them at a cool and dark place. - Avoid the ones with any discoloration, yellowishness or wrinkled skin. - In case you are left with some cucumber, make sure you store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator.